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The 5 Hottest New Handsets

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There's a ringing coming from Barcelona. A deafening buzz, rattling its way across the airwaves.

With the World Mobile Congress in full swing, international tech giants (Apple aside) have been tearing the veils off their latest smartphones in a shower of all-metal, curved, HD confetti. 

We've been fortunate enough to have a prod and a poke at some of the newest handsets ahead of their reveals. These are the smartphones you'll be wanting to answer your calls with in 2015.


M9

HTC One M9

Notable features: Ultra-selfies, Dolby Digital Speakers

The worst-kept secret in tech, images and stats for HTC’s new offering have been circling the web for so long you'd be forgiven for thinking it was already released (it isn't, with first models due to ship in 31 March). As expected, all the numbers have gone up a notch over the M8: the rear camera is now a vast 20-megapixels, while the ultrapixel cam that adorned the back of the M8 now makes its way to the front of the M9 – a big draw for anyone looking for ultra detailed selfies. While the new features of HTC Sense software makes for fun customisation (you can even base themes around your own pictures), the build quality of the phone itself doesn't quite match up to the leap of the M7-to-M8: the screen is the same five-inch expanse of full HD as found on the M8, but the M9 feels a touch chunky: the rear camera stands proud of the case, while the side-mounted power button juts out in a position you'll have to teach your fingers to find. If you want a better camera and beefier battery than the M8, get the upgrade.

Arrives: 31 March


Edge

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge

Notable features: Curved glass display, Samsung Pay 

You can cross the word "gimmick" off for a start - Samsung's fully curved screen (as opposed to the single curve of the Note Edge) hasn't been cooked up to grab some headlines. The curved edges of the 5.1-inch HD display (577ppi, if you like your numbers) act in a similar manner to your computer's tool bar: assign colours to various callers or apps, allowing the edges of the S6 to glow when new notifications appear. Information can also be scanned along the edge of the screen, like the endless stream of information across the bottom of a 24-hour news channel. The curves fit your hand, a metallic edge offering a reassuring level of grip to the otherwise flat expanse of Gorilla Glass. The rear camera (16 megapixels) has a wealth of low light and virtual features, while both forms of wireless charging have been crammed into the body. The most interesting feature though, is Samsung Pay - but we'll talk more about that below...

Arrives: 10 April


S6

Samsung Galaxy S6

Notable features: Samsung Pay

...because despite being almost exactly the same phone without the curved thrills, the "standard" Galaxy S6 is still a very attractive package. With identical bells and whistles of the S6 Edge, the S6 will appeal to those who take their coffee/tea/smartphones regular. Samsung Pay promises to beat Apple in the mobile payment race, linking up your phone to wireless payment methods that are gradually becoming a common sight in major retailers. A full 2mm narrower than the old S5, Samsung's latest Galaxy is remarkably similar to Apple's iPhone 6: the home button acts as a fingerprint reader, the camera stands proud from the back of the case - the side buttons even match up. If you have a preference for Android over iOS, you should seriously consider pocketing the S6. 

Arrives: 10 April


Lenovo

Lenovo Vibe Shot

Notable features: Two-stage shutter button, Eight megapixel front-facing camera

While Lenovo certainly isn't the first to create a smartphone/camera hybrid, the Chinese technology monolith is certainly going about it in convincing fashion. The Vibe Shot looks like a sleek point-and-shoot of the early 2000s, a brushed-metal case holding a 16 megapixel camera - but it's the button that's going to appeal to the serious camera crowd. A large, two-stage shutter button sits atop the phone (when turned landscape): depress it halfway and the autofocus will kick in, the full click taking the image. There's also a slider switch that flicks you between smart mode (automatic) and pro mode (with adjustable exposure, white levels and ISO level). Lenovo have also slapped a pixel-rich camera on the front of the Vibe Shot - an eight-megapixel beast making for some of the best selfies and video calls you've ever taken on an Android phone. No, it's not going to rival your DSLR, but it's a mean little basic camera with a five-inch HD display that can also play Angry Birds. Oh, and make phone calls.

Arrives: June


Xperia

Sony Xperia M4 Aqua

Best features: Full waterproofing, wide angle lens on front camera

While the likes of Samsung and HTC made a great deal of fuss about their new "flagships", Sony only brought a middleweight contender to Barcelona. Although it looks almost identical to the Xperia Z3, the M4 is a lighter, shorter handset - though its 5-inch screen boasts less pixels than the pricer Z3. The 13-megapixel camera is a neat addition for a mid-range phone, while the wide angle lens of the five-megapixel front-facing camera is remarkably impressive - far outstripping the iPhone 6's 1.2-megapixel front cam. But, as the name suggests, it's the waterproofing that separates the M4 Aqua from the rest of the Xperia line up: so long as you don't take it below a depth of 1.5 metres for more than 30 minutes, this is the perfect phone for those of you prone to soggy encounters with baths, pint glasses and puddles. 

Arrives: Spring

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